The Casino Garden | Piraeus, Greece | Unit 21 | 2019

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Project 1 : Tax Evasion and Bribery in Athens
The Greek financial crisis started in 2008. It was triggered by the structural weaknesses in the Greek economy; the main reason behind this was the culture of cheating, bribery and tax evasion. Even anticorruption officials reputedly accept bribes and only one minister has gone to prison for this reason. At the bottom level, individuals and small companies still hide most of their income in order to avoid tax.

Following the financial crisis, the unemployment rate and sale tax have increased along with the decrease in annual wages. In 2016 COSCO, a Chinese state-owned shipping company, bought the port of Piraeus, the largest Greek seaport. There was evidence that the Greek government has overspent the country’s money on many occasions including extremely high salaries, therefore, once COSCO bought the Piraeus port, there were reductions in salary and social benefits for the workers.
My first project seeks to bring out this problem in the city of Athens. The model I have designed and made shines light on the tax evasion and bribery problems in Athens. The ambition is to show the process of ‘fakelaki’, a bribery of public servants and private companies by Greek citizens
Project 2: The Casino Garden
Casinos have become a major industry in Europe and are a tool for economic growth since they increase employment, tax revenue to the state and local governments, and provide growth in local retail sales. Therefore, for my building project, I have designed a luxurious casino that aims to attract both affluent international players and local players. The rooftop public park was later introduced into the scheme creating an exchange relationship between the building and the city, where the building provides a green public space for the city in exchange for the permission to build the casino.
The site is located on a disused land next to the port of Keratsin, the cargo side of the port of Piraeus. The building is split into three separated layers, the water, the casino and the public park. The casino and public park are completely separated from each other for different target audiences. Due to the nature of the site, the locals are able to enter the rooftop public park from the main street level. On the other hand, gamblers can arrive at the casino by three different ways including boat, helicopter and car. The water from the Aegean Sea cuts through the site as the main transportation and as the gamblers travel though the water they will be experiencing the outdoor casino tables, urging the gamblers to gamble, and ensuring the maximum profit for the casino.
Since the site is surrounded by an unpleasant neighbourhood, the building has been designed to wall out the surroundings, creating a completely different environment inside and only the green side of the building is facing the general public. Both the building and the casino have been designed to force the visitors to look towards the Aegean Sea, watching both the cruise ships and cargo ships pass by.
By creating a semi-enclosed casino space and introducing outdoor casino areas, the gamblers are exposed to fresh air and daylight. This contrasts with the existing casino typology, and so makes the complex a tourist attraction in its individuality. null